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Bayern Munich 1, AC Milan 0: As Expected



Giampaolo’s first match in charge of Milan went well enough. There were few surprises, good or bad, and the result wasn’t a surprise, either. Bayern showed why they have won seven German titles consecutively and have also participated in the Champions League for ten straight years, too. Milan weren’t terrible, but they have a lot of work to transition from Gattuso’s defensive 4-3-3 to Giampaolo’s style and 4-3-1-2 formation. Basically, everything in this game was pretty much as expected.

Giampaolo used a more compact formation... and not just for the pic

There were a few surprises in the starting lineup. Gabbia was paired with Strinic as our starting center backs. The role of trequartista wasn’t given to Calhanoglu or Suso, but rather to Daniel Maldini, who had one of the best chances for Milan in the 23rd minute. Hernandez was incredibly refreshing, my man of the match for Milan. However he was injured just before the end of the first half and had to be stretchered off. It is reported that he immediately went to the hospital to check if his ankle was more than just sprained. Let’s hope it’s just the sprain.

Plenty of things were not surprising. Borini taking wild shots, going to ground easily, and putting in crosses to no one. Or the fact that he even earned a starting spot. Not surprising. He bewitches all the coaches with his work ethic so they don’t realize how poor he really is. Calhanoglu got a yellow and faced some swift wrath from Coman after a nasty foul, but

He did well in his own right, even with the weight of the Maldini name on his shoulders

Despite switching formations and having a young, quick Calabria and the lightning fast Hernandez on the sides and a talented and tenacious young Maldini behind the strikers, Piatek was still starving for service, and I think Castillejo was out shopping for more shiny shoes, I’m not sure. This piece of the 4-3-1-2 is what makes the beautiful football and the pretty goals, but after being so offensively constipated by Gattuso’s tactics, I guess it’s just going to take more time before it happens for us. Also, we are still missing some key players, so there is hope.

Bayern dominated this game for large portions, and made Milan look like schoolchildren more times than I’d like. Which is really fair, because some of them are literally still schoolchildren. Their quality and depth were undeniable, but what was impressive was Milan’s determination. It was through sheer willpower that they stayed in the game and didn’t give up more goals. Well, okay, there were the other two Bayern goals called off for a hand ball and for offside, but Milan’s hard work allowed them to take control whenever Bayern took their foot off the pedal, and it looked at times that we could have at least equalized.

Not a terrible start for Giampaolo

Milan are a work in progress, and Bayern are perpetual champions. That showed tonight, I’m not gonna lie. But the fact that we didn’t completely embarrass ourselves against such champions made me really happy and gave me hope that maybe change is coming. We played against the big boys, and we held our own. And soon, maybe we’ll be the big boys again, too. But until then, we can expect to play as expected.


This post inspired by the music of Stone Temple Pilot’s “Big Empty”


Our next match is a Friendly
International Champions Cup
AC Milan vs. Benfica
Sunday, July 28 • 3pm EDT